WASHINGTON (April 26, 2012) – National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry passed the 2012 Farm Bill out of committee by a 16-5 vote:
“NFU is pleased to see the 2012 Farm Bill voted out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in a bipartisan vote. This represents progress toward providing a fiscally responsible farm safety net directed to family farmers and ranchers. The bill’s investment in rural America will create jobs and opportunities for farmers to continue providing energy and conservations benefits to all Americans.
“NFU applauds the passage of the amendment offered by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and its bipartisan cosponsors, to restore $800 million in mandatory funding for energy programs. Renewable energy production is at the core of recent rural economic development progress and we appreciate the committee’s leadership. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) also received increased funding, ensuring that farmers and ranchers will continue to have the tools necessary to preserve natural resources.
“NFU welcomes the adjustments made to the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program, which will allow farmers to choose a coverage plan that allows them to best manage their risk. Additionally, the temporary extension of the Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) program to cover disaster-level losses suffered during the 2012 crop year and of the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC) will provide needed protection during the transition period as the next farm bill is implemented.
“Farmers Union supports the provisions establishing a military veterans agricultural liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and providing assistance to veterans who want to begin farming or ranching. We further support the stronger enforcement authority granted to USDA to detect abuse of the National Organic Program as well as the language that ensures Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits can be used with Community-Supported Agriculture programs.
“NFU is still concerned that the legislation does not do enough to protect farmers and ranchers against long-term price collapses. A program such as the Market-Driven Inventory System (MDIS) would help protect against such collapses and should be implemented in the final bill.
“Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Roberts, and all of the members of the committee have worked hard to address the concerns of family farmers in the 2012 Farm Bill. We look forward to working with the committee to continue improving the legislation and secure its passage on the Senate floor.”